The museum celebrates the history, heritage and future of historic Aberdeen Gardens. Built for and by African-Americans in 1935 as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal Settlement, the neighborhood was established to provide African American shipping workers with modern homes in which to live and garden for sustenance. Aberdeen Gardens became the second neighborhood in the nation for blacks financed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Subsistence Homestead Project. The neighborhood was designed by a black architect from Howard University named Hillyard R. Robertson. Charles Duke, a black architect, was named architect-in-charge to design and manage the construction. The Homestead Project was built by black contractors and laborers.